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Iowan Swims 28.5 Miles Around Manhattan Island

One Iowan woman won't stop her long-distance swimming until she gets the crown.

After completing the 20-plus mile Catalina Channel swim, Iowan Liz Uribe collected her second "Triple Crown" achievement: Uribe circumnavigated the island of Manhattan without a boat.

This summer she swam the East River, Harlem River and Hudson River, all the way around. Uribe spoke with River to River host Ben Kieffer about a swim with a huge reputation among open water swimmers that doesn't seem to register with locals.

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"I actually think that despite how big this particular swim is in the open water swimming world, a lot of people in New York actually don't know that it happens," Uribe said. "And so when they see swimmers go by in the river, I think a lot of them are like, what is that crazy person doing in the water?"

Uribe said that swimming in the open water is relaxing. While in the pool she said swimmers have to flip turn at the walls, while in the open water with a kayak guide, she said it's completely different.

"You can just kind of stop thinking really. You can just let your mind wander. You don't have to think about anything. You don't have to worry about anything," Uribe said. "You just get in and kind of enjoy the swimming."

Besides the Catalina Channel and Manhattan Island, the last leg Uribe lacks is a swim across the English Channel. That's a longer distance with colder water and stronger currents.

"Hopefully within the next couple of years, I will get out there and swim the English Channel. That's something that I'm interested in doing," she said.

Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Zachary Oren Smith is a reporter covering Eastern Iowa